People living and working in disaster-prone areas know that it’s always best to be prepared for their particular flavor of unstoppable forces of nature.

Whether your business is located in a hurricane zone, tornado alley or on top of an extra active seismic fault, having someone who can take your calls when you’re trying to sort out the aftermath of an emergency is a huge boon.

Many answering services offer emergency or disaster recovery services, but these services aren’t all the same. Before you trust a virtual phone answering service to take over your calls when trouble strikes, make sure it is ready for anything and won’t miss a beat.

Here are five must-haves for emergency answering services:

Backup generators. Even an emergency backup needs to have an emergency backup. When you can’t take calls, your answering service had better be prepared to do so no matter what the conditions. Regardless of the weather outside, the lights and computers inside will keep functioning with a backup generator in place.

Data backups. Your business may physically bounce back from a disaster, but if the many calls from your customers are lost by your answering service, sales may still suffer. Answering services with data backups ensure that you’ll always get your messages and your instructions to operators will always be accessible, even if your answering service’s primary systems fail.

Battery backups. Despite the best generators and data backups, an answering service may experience a loss of power and your precious data during the short time it takes for a large generator to kick on. Battery backups protect the information that hasn’t been saved from complete annihilation.

Redundant dial tone providers. Because phone companies aren’t perfect, sometimes the system will go down completely during bad weather. If you’re not able to answer your phone and your answering service’s one phone service is experiencing trouble, then who will help your customers? This is why redundancy is vital — an answering service that’s prepared will simply switch to their backup carrier.

Redundant Internet providers. As an increasingly large number of businesses move their databases into the cloud, a permanent internet connection is vital. An emergency answering service should always have a redundant connection with an automatic fail over so their cloud connection is never broken and data is protected.

Being prepared for a disaster means making sure that your backup plan also has a backup plan. Carefully examine the offerings of any emergency answering services that you may be considering to ensure that if things happen to also go wrong at one of their locations, your data and your customers will be protected.